Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Manufacturing: an opportunity to define purpose-driven organisations

Photo by Christoph Schulz on Unsplash

The rise of AI helps moving industry 4.0 value to new heights

Industrial production must adapt to “mass personalization”, fast product innovation, strong price competition, stricter compliance and higher quality requirements. Industries must use the comprehensive set of Industry 4.0’s technology solutions to think engineering, production, IT and business as systems to shorten cycle times, improve products quality and manufacture customized products on a global scale. AI is already at the heart of that industry and business revolution, bringing the next level of automation and effectiveness, from “Things-to-Action”.

Imagine the system of an Intelligent Enterprise which anticipates failures of equipment, has full visibility on various spare parts inventories, monitors the whole transportation journey, understands the manufacturer’s equipment maintenance modus operandi and can check technicians’ availability for new work order internally and externally, all in real time and autonomously, taking decisions based on cost, time, or customer satisfaction.

Successful transformation must address social fears

Companies can only implement the required end-to-end intelligent scenarios based on real time connectivity between people, business processes and things if they consciously and constantly fight against many centripetal forces induced by companies’ silos.

Besides, manufacturing employees are legitimately concerned over the potential substitution of their positions by intelligent machines and systems. Manufacturing companies must focus on the new co-operation between men and machines. Workers will need to be upskilled to provide value-added tasks in production using AI. By demonstrating concretely how new processes and human workface complement each other, companies can diminish anxiety and increase engagement around technology. They must highlight the benefits of digital technology and augmented workforce, for a better well-being at work.

Manufacturer need to control and be enable of their ecosystem’s platform

Machine learning is at heart of any automation transformation. But beyond automation the key transformation relies on the shift from product manufacturer to service providers. And Artificial Intelligence will contribute to this transformation by helping advanced manufacturers becoming the enabler of their ecosystem’s platform and help them play a role in this new data-driven industry.

Such platforms will bring value and resource optimization we could not imagine before, higher than the sum of the internal optimizations of each party in the value chain. They will force manufacturing companies to redefine their reason for being.

Digital giants are already entering all industries including manufacturing, to rule with data. Can they win the industry platform battle? Who will be able to leverage the core data currently held by manufacturers, this treasure cove, to run sophisticated end-to-end industry scenarios that could benefit to society rather than only companies’ best interests? Who is finally best positioned to bring and maintain trust among all stakeholders taking part in each industry platform?

A good illustration is the Landlog platform launched by Komatsu. Specialized in heavy duty construction and mining equipment, Komatsu joined forces in a Joint Venture with SAP, NTT Docomo, and Optim to create a new cloud-based Internet of Things and AI/ML platform. In a context of massive skilled-labor shortage, this “smart construction platform” aims at centrally collect data from machinery, people, drones, and fields to optimize construction processes, significantly improving resource utilization and safety standards, while reducing also the impact on environment. “Landlog” sees an incredible appetite from all stakeholders in the construction industry to join the platform and contribute to these higher purposes.

Leverage new platform business model and the rise of Artificial Intelligence to re-define your sustainability social engagement.

The 17 rules for sustainable development released by United Nations and the fresh released report from Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard to the French ministers of economy and finance, ecology, and work illustrate the importance companies need to give to their social engagement in the society, even asking companies to define their “social mission” in their core status.

The industry platforms powered by AI won’t be only more efficient and more effective: they will generate multiple opportunities to move from self-centered businesses to more responsible ones; beyond moving from selling products to selling services, it is the whole Corporate Social Responsibility which is becoming essential to the reason for being of modern manufacturing companies. And we believe such a new mission will help advanced manufacturers approach positively their AI transformation, giving a new role and mission to their employees towards the socity.

We call upon all companies to deepen the discussions regarding the setting up of AI-powered industry platforms. We do think it will help them re-defining their business purpose and surpass themselves — as well as leading their transformation to benefit the society. Social purpose and AI are complementary.

Pierre Robinet, Vice President, OgilvyRed APAC & Live Withe AI Founder

David Marchesseau, APAC Vice President, Discrete Manufacturing SAP & Live Withe AI Board Member

About Live With AI:

Live with AI is a non-profit foundation based in Singapore. The foundation gathers thought leaders, decision-makers and French, Singaporean, and international researchers to lead working groups and research projects on the positive impacts of artificial intelligence to our society. The Live with AI community takes advantage of a presence at the heart of the South-East Asia region and an access to several research laboratories to issue recommendations which can be immediately applied and tested among very diverse communities looking for technology disruption. Live with AI is an independent initiative created at the occasion of the France Singapore year of Innovation 2018.